I am sharing this post with Nature Notes over at RamblingWoods.com.
So, as I mentioned one of the ways to tell poison ivy from other viney plants is that poison ivy vines have all the fringe-like little roots that you see on the photo. Some of the other vines that you may run into in the same area - like grape vine or oriental bittersweet do not have these little, fringed roots.
But, one poison ivy look-alike does have a pretty similar vine and it also has pretty similar leaves! That plant is the Virginia Creeper. And, guess what? I have both growing right next to one another behind the garage!
You may have heard this old rhyme as a way of telling the difference between poison ivy and Virginia Creeper, "Leaves of Five, Let it Thrive. Leaves of Three, Let it Be." So, what the rhyme is saying is that if it has five leaves, leave it alone. And, if it has three leaves, ALSO leave it alone! I know. I don't think that it is a very good rhyme. Here's my own personal version of it. Note that this is not very good poetry, but it does get the message across!
Leaves of Five, Let it Thrive. Leaves of Three, Bad for Me.
If you remember that version, you will know that the five leaved plant is Virginia Creeper, and the plant with the three-leaved clusters in poison ivy.
I spent some time going around town and getting pictures of both so that you could practice identifying them. Let me know in the comments if you can tell which is which!